(Note: For the first half of this story, see “Click Clack Mooohmygod . . .”)
Tuesday was our last chance to rehearse “Click Clack Moo” and it was not going well. The acting and improvising had all been great the day before, but the kids were still mumbling or forgetting their lines. They rushed through the end so that the point got lost. They were all constantly looking at me to feed them their next moves or next lines. During the first run through, my mind was racing for ways to fix these problems in the next 45 minutes. When the kids had finished, a sudden inspiration struck.
“Okay, go put on your shoes and coats and meet me in the garden.”
I motioned to Dani to come with me and we got up and left the room. We went outside and waited. The ten kids slowly came out of the school and walked up to us with questioning looks on their faces. When all of them were present, I asked them to come with me to one of the goal posts on the soccer field. I pointed out a small area in front of the goal and said “See this area? This is the stage. Now Dani and I are going to walk over there to the tree. When we are there, you do the play so that we can hear you.”
And Dani and I left. The tree was a really long way off – at least 50 yards if not more. When we got there, the kids started arguing among themselves and eventually all found their places. They all looked at one another to figure out how to start. One of them finally said “Get going cows!” And they were off.
Once or twice, Dani and I yelled “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!” or “SLOWER!” but then they got the point. They said their lines in loud and dramatic stage voices. When they got stuck, they worked it out among themselves instead of looking to me for directions.
We ran through the play twice and by the end, I knew they were as ready as they would ever be. I complimented them all and told them that those were the voices I wanted to hear the next day.
The play was a big hit. The parents loved it and were so pleased (as much with themselves as with their kids) that they had understood it all.
I felt like the Music Man. In my first foray into theater direction, I had used the “Think System” with the kids and it had all worked out just fine.